Approximately four new children arrive daily on Kitale streets. Child Rescue Kenya (CRK) operates Street Smart, a street-based programme that supports the children to return home. The earlier children engage with Street Smart, the more likely they are to leave the streets successfully. The social work team identify new arrivals, encourage them to attend the Street Smart drop-in centre and build trusting relationships as the starting point for successful reintegration back home and into school.
The street-based community in Kitale includes 350-400 children and youth. These young people are exposed to situations of risk that include abuse and drug addiction. The longer the children remain on the street, the more familiar they become with this way of life and the decision to leave becomes more difficult to make. The earlier a child becomes integrated into Child Rescue Kenya's Street Smart project, the easier their transition away from the street and return to family homes and education.
Social workers in the Street Smart Project conduct daily street walks to identify new arrivals on the streets, develop and reinforce relationships with children already living on the streets, and encourage their attendance in the non-formal education sessions at the Street Smart drop-in centre. At the centre they are provided with food, washing facilities and dependable adults who can assist them to leave the street and return home.
This project aims to reunite 200 children with their families. It aims to provide social workers who can support the children through the difficult process of deciding to leave the street. This decision takes time and relies on the development of trusting relationships between the children and CRK staff. Therefore, the drop-in centre provides a daily refuge from street life where the children are able to wash, spend time in class or playing sport, and are provided with food.